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CBC NB: Apologize for baseless attack on Miles Howe

Media Co-op appalled at treatment of their journalist on Information Morning

by The Media Co-op


The Editorial Collective of the Media Co-op was appalled to learn of the baseless accusations made by New Brunswick CBC Radio's Information Morning against our editor and journalist Miles Howe. We demand that the host issue a retraction, offer equal airtime to Miles to provide his side of the story, and issue an apology as soon as possible.
 
Information Morning host Terry Seguin and guests Philip Lee and Dan Leger claimed that Miles is a "blogger" and questioned his credentials as a journalist. At one point Leger even calls Miles a "hot-headed fanatic." We deplore the use of this kind of language towards any journalist, let alone one with the tenacity and work ethic of Miles Howe.
 
On multiple occasions the host and guests claimed that Howe is an unpaid blogger for the Halifax Media Co-op, and questioned whether he or our organization adheres to journalistic standards, fact checking or accuracy in our work. The irony that the host and guests were not meeting their own standards seemed lost on them: a single phone call would have revealed that Howe has been a paid staff editor and journalist with the Media Co-op's national editorial collective for two years now, contributing both to our local website, the Halifax Media Co-op, and our national magazine, The Dominion (which, for the record, does have a fact checking process).
 
As a staff writer, Miles can publish directly to our website, where there are sections for blogging and sections for reporting. We do our best to hold our journalists to the same degree of accuracy as other outlets, and invite Lee, Leger and Seguin to point out any factual errors they have found in Miles' work. We welcome fact-based criticism of our work, and should a mistake be found, we will happily issue a correction. It appears that Seguin, Lee and Leger didn't do their research before jumping to conclusions about Miles Howe and the Media Co-op.
 
Howe was the first journalist to begin covering the community opposition to fracking in Elsipogtog, and has remained the most consistent journalist covering the story out of any media outlets. He has been targeted by police for his work, arrested three times so far (no charges have been laid). Other media organizations, such as the Canadian Association of Journalists and PEN Canada, recognize his work and his credentials as a journalist and have spoken out in his defence. 
 
We question why the host and guests of Information Morning would decide that instead of supporting a fellow journalist, they should cast doubt on his work and possibly place him in greater danger of repression. From our perspective, the CBC and mainstream media have generally missed the boat on providing solid coverage of the Elsipogtog fracking controversy, and are degrading the work of journalists like Miles instead of stepping up their own coverage of the issue.
 
We would also like to express our anger towards the RCMP, which once again targeted Miles Howe with an unfounded arrest. We are calling for a full explanation as to why Miles was taken into custody on Tuesday, November 26. We also demand that all his equipment, including his cell phone and camera which contain sensitive work-related materials, be returned to him immediately.
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Tim McSorley (Tim McSorley)
Montreal
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Freedom of the Press

The Canadian Association of Journalists must recognize Miles Howe as a journalist, because they have released this statement calling for the RCMP ro respect freedom of the press: http://www.caj.ca/?p=3643

 

Who are the “fanatics”?

Let us not be defensive in the face of such calumny. The big guns have been unleashed and the gloves taken off. 

If, according to the logic of these corporate editorial scribblers, Mr Howe is an unpaid "blogger" and a "hot-headed fanatic," and that the Halifax Media Co-op does not adhere to the famous and celebrated "journalistic standards," then what are they so concerned about?

Do they not represent extremely wealthy monopolies with dominant positions in their respective provinces, Lee in New Brunswick (the Irving press) and Leger in Nova Scotia (Halifax Herald Ltd.), with virtually unlimited resources at their fingertips?

Mr Howe has been arrested three times, justifiably or no. Is he then not innocent until proven guilty? If no charges have been laid, why not demand that they in fact be laid against him? Would he then not have his day in court? Would it not be an extremely public and visible event? Why not uphold the rule of law?

Indeed, why are they so upset?

Or perhaps they are afraid that he may use such a trial as a powerful tribune to expose and attack the real criminals exploiting the natural resources through this fracking fraud and the role of the RCMP, which has made the First Nations and their defenders the target of law and order.

Or that more and more people -- not only in the Maritimes but around the world -- may start reading his and other's reports of the events and question the fabled "human rights," "freedom of the press" and "Canadian values" of this society so dear to their hearts.

Perhaps Messrs Seguin, Lee and Leger have an agenda in the background.

Their charade about an individual journalist and his credentials and standards is unjustifiable and criminal: it is a calculated diversion from the real issues and a complete deception.

The "freedom" of this monopoly media is dependent on the suppression of any media which reports the facts, is independent and creates public opinion in the interests of the people for necessary change.

This is why the monopoly camp rages against an individual and seeks to reduce an important issue facing the Canadian public with smears and slanders characteristic of the gutter.

Such are its elastic "standards" of debasement, with the aim to lower the level of political culture and stop public discussion and action against the plunder of our natural resources by the big monopolies.

This is also why these aristocrats advance in the American style that only those who are paid can adhere to ethics and principles, be in journalism or any other sphere of culture and public life. According to their logic, ethics, principles and standards are something to be bought and sold, and adjusted accordingly to the dollar. This is the naked logic of American pragmatism, the end justifies the means, whatever works is the truth.

Is this not the reactionary content of the diatribe launched by Messrs Seguin, Lee and Leger?

It would also be instructive to publish the complete transcript of the New Brunswick CBC Radio's Information Morning program so that the readers may judge for themselves.

I am for a media that is based on reporting the truth, a media that is partisan about the interests of the people and public right, including the defence of the hereditary rights of the First Nations, and stands against and exposes the fanatical defence of private monopoly right and the repression and criminalization by the state of all those opposing it.

This is our ethic and principle.

Write on!


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